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Health workforce gets budget boost

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

28 May 2009

Health workforce gets budget boost

The Government is investing an extra $116.5 million over four years to bolster the frontline health workforce.

This additional investment includes around $25 million transferred to Vote Education and Vote Social Development over four years to fund 60 new medical student training places next year. The Government intends to increase this to 200 new places each year over the next five years.

"New Zealand has the highest percentage of foreign trained doctors of any OECD country (36 per cent) and is also the biggest exporter of doctors (29 per cent),” Health Minister Tony Ryall says. “The increase in medical undergraduate places, combined with the voluntary bonding scheme, will help build our own capacity at home.

"The Government is also increasing training for GPs with an extra 50 training places by 2010. The additional cost of training these GPs is about $17.5 million over four years."

A further $70 million over the next four years has been allocated to training staff for the elective surgery super centres, while $4 million over four years will be allocated to encourage health professionals to train and work in rural communities.

Increasing the number of doctors and more GP training is part of the government's comprehensive workforce plan.

It supplements the Government's voluntary bonding policy, which provides student loan write-offs for qualifying doctors, nurses and midwives who agree to work for three to five years in "hard to staff" areas or specialties.

ENDS

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